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The whole idea behind a discussion board is that it should work as a forum I suppose.

Lets say that I created a new column in the discussionbard called category and that its mandatory.

Then when someone creates a new post, they fill the category. But when somebody replies to the post, it also asks this new column.

Not very good design, a Reply its a different from a post in my opinion. I wonder if this behavior can be changed

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This is really easy, On the discussion board, list settings, create the new column as required.

After this go to content type message, and hide the required column only for the message content type.

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